Board of Supervisors to discuss well for Coastal Christian School

The county Board of Supervisors is set to consider Tuesday a proposal to let a private school use an on-site well for its water supply just outside the Pismo Beach and Arroyo Grande city limits.

Doing so would allow Coastal Christian School to move forward with plans to eventually build a campus that could serve up to 600 kindergarten through 12th-grade students.

Supporters of the school have wanted to build a new campus for nearly three decades on 28 acres it owns at 705 N. Oak Park Blvd., between James Way and Noyes Road.

“We are closer today than we’ve ever been to getting this new campus built,” said Mitch Dubbers, a board member and project manager for the school.

A few years ago, the school proposal was part of a project known as Los Robles del Mar, which if approved would have allowed Pismo Beach to consider plans for the school, 60 senior citizen homes and 252 single-family homes on land north of the city limits.

The plans were stalled in January 2008 when the countywide Local Agency Formation Commission — which decides on city annexations — told the city that an underground aquifer would not provide enough water for the project, and so it could not permit annexation.

School administrators have also started the process toward getting approval of the new, 90,000-square-foot campus, which would be built in phases over 10 years, Dubbers said, and is estimated to cost $28.8 million.

The first phase is estimated to cost about $6.8 million and includes four buildings totaling 25,000 square feet that could serve about 200 students.

They include an administration building, a two-story classroom building, a library and media center, and a two-classroom building for kindergarteners.

Next year is the school’s 40th anniversary, and a capital campaign to raise funds will be tied into anniversary celebrations, Dubbers said.

Coastal Christian, a nondenominational school, has been temporarily housed for at least 10 years at Landmark Missionary Baptist Church on Farroll Avenue in Arroyo Grande. It serves about 175 students.

The county’s general plan has anticipated a school being built on the site since 1980, and the proposed amendment to the county’s general plan — its blueprint for regulating growth — would give the project enough water from the well, according to a staff report.

Having its own well would allow the school to ensure the amount of water extracted is equal to the school’s own demand, county planning commissioners decided in a unanimous vote to recommend approval of the amendment in October.

When fully built, the school would use less than 29 acre-feet of water a year, Dubbers said. An acre-foot is enough water, on average, to serve a few single-family homes for a year.

If approved, Coastal Christian School would also have to abide by water conservation measures, such as low-flow toilets, using certain types of landscaping and collecting and filtering storm-water runoff before it’s used to recharge the aquifer.

If supervisors approve the proposed change in land-use law Tuesday, it would return to the board Dec. 14 for final approval.

Reach Cynthia Lambert at 781-7929. Stay updated by following @SouthCountyBeat on Twitter.